AT a young age Aamir Ishtiaque was destined for great things. He was a typical high achiever and child who loved to study.
His career path was mapped out. From grammar school in Belfast to university to becoming a doctor.
Born in Belfast to Indian parents Aamir, 25, admits he was a bit of a “geek” at school and enjoyed schoolwork, playing chess and going to class.
But as it turned out his passion for physiotherapy has made him the muscle-man model he is today.
Due to his love of fitness Aamir eventually decided upon a dream to be a physio for a sports team.
However, while he still works as a physiotherapist he is now one of the most sought after personal trainers and fitness models on the local scene.
“Both my parents wanted me to study medicine” said Aamir.
“I declined as I preferred physiotherapy. I loved school and loved doing well in exams.
“It made my family proud and gave me a sense of achievement I never had until I started competing in fitness competitions and modelling.
“Initially I did get stick from friends but eventually classes were separated depending on results so I ended up being with other smart students similar to myself.
“I was very smart at school, always in the top classes and always performing well in exams.
“I was also very quiet and reserved – lacking confidence. My goal at the time was to become a physio for a top sports team such as Arsenal football club.”
Recently Aamir was signed by Belfast glamour model Laura Lacole to Frontier Models.
Frontier Models, owned by Laura, is a new UK and Ireland modelling agency catering for fitness, fashion, lingerie and glamour models.
As a teenager, despite his intelligence Aamir lacked confidence and says he believed he was “small, fragile and looked very skinny”.
Now, three stone heavier, his confidence and career are at an all time high.
Describing himself as now being “more muscly and athletic” the turning point for Aamir came when, in the final year of his physio degree, he entered his first fitness competition.
He explained: “I’m very hard on myself when I look in the mirror. I always set high standards and if I feel I don’t look quite right, then I make sure I correct it.
“Before when I looked in the mirror I didn’t have high expectations so I was never bothered about my appearance.
“When I was younger and playing football I was always pushed off the ball by bigger stronger guys. I wanted to be stronger and heavier to be able to cope.
“But if someone had have told me that I would go on to look like this I really wouldn’t have believed it. Sometimes I look at my physique and think – is that really me?
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.
“I’m definitely happier now. I am doing something I love and have a real passion for.
“I entered my first competition during the final year of my physio degree in Newcastle and I placed second. Nevertheless I was inundated with messages from friends asking for advice.
“It was at this stage I thought I could maybe become a personal trainer and work part time alongside my physio.
“I love helping people achieve their personal goals and seeing the improvements both physically and mentally in everyone I work with. It’s truly satisfying to know I can make such a difference to people’s lives.”
And as his career path began to change Aamir also discovered a love for modelling, a far cry from the medical career his parent’s had dreamed of.
While he may have been a geek at school, Aamir has the life many young people could only dream of and he’s gaining confidence and success with every step.
He added: “I did a few photoshoots for clubs while in Newcastle and through fitness competitions as well.
“Before every competition I used to do a photoshoot and I eventually felt a lot more comfortable in front of the lens.
“What I love about modelling is that I am able to create different images in different settings and showcase all the hard work I put into my physique and appearance.”
Of course, despite being happy with his career, Aamir still has big dreams.
He said: “I would love to be on the cover of top fitness magazines such as Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness. I’d also love to do an underwear shoot for a top company such as Calvin Klein.”
In the meantime Aamir is looking forward to his next competition.
He said: “Getting on stage is a euphoric feeling. I love being in the spotlight and because it’s the culmination of all the endless hours of being in the gym and I want to make those few minutes count.
“Maintaining the right diet and fitness level for a competition isn’t easy to be honest. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to stay on track day in and day out.
“I do relax with friends and family from time to time but I always know I need to work that little bit harder the next day.
“Last year I entered a fitness model show called Miami pro in London. I placed first and it was the biggest fitness model show in the UK to date.
“Four months later I entered the Men’s Physique show in Belfast. Again I placed first.
“This is also similar to the fitness model shows in that they are looking for a physique that is very marketable. Later that year I went to Nottingham and competed at the British Finals. It was a fantastic experience.”
And when it comes to competitions, Aamir gives himself three months to get ready.
He said: “I would give myself 12 weeks to prepare. Generally I would train twice a day five times a week and sometimes every day depending on how I feel I am looking.
“I am planning to compete in Leeds in eight weeks time. Again in the men’s physique category.
“People always expect you to be in perfect show ready shape. That is genuinely impossible. I always stay 7-8lbs away from show ready shape so I can maintain a more balanced lifestyle.”
So despite being three stone heavier and weighing in at 12 stone Aamir says he’s looking forward to the next chapter.
He added: I am so much happier in my life and have so much more confidence in myself. I believe if I put my mind to something I will always achieve it.”
To find out more about Ross log onto www.frontier-models.com.